Kathmandu, April 16
The government’s long-awaited plan to establish a security printing press in the country has hit another roadblock as the country’s constitutional anti-corruption watchdog has filed a corruption case against the project’s chief.
On Sunday, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority filed a corruption case against nine people including Security Printing Centre chief Bikal Paudel at the Special Court.
The CIAA spokesperson Bhola Dahal says Paudel faces the charge that his action incurred a loss of Rs 690.8 million to the state coffers.
Earlier, the Ministry of Finance refused to allocate funds for the controversial plan to establish a security printing press, the first of its kind in Nepal.
The project was long in controversy due to charges of corruption. In February 2020, an audiotape leaked out, in which the then communications minister Gokul Baskota had demanded Rs 740 million commission from the agent of a Swiss company, KBA-Notasys, to give his side a contract to establish a security printing press in Nepal. The controversy had cost Baskota his ministerial job.
Later, the government awarded the contract to import and install the security printing press to the second-lowest bidder, not the lowest one, raising eyebrows.
The government plans to print postal stamps, excise duty stickers, and academic credentials with the machine. Once the machine comes into operation, it can save Rs 9 billion every year, claims the government.